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Know your skin, save your life

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We are enjoying some wonderful spring days- and even, some summer-like temperatures; but, before you head out to sun-worship, ask yourself- just how healthy is your skin?

Most skin cancers are linked directly to sun exposure.

A history of sunburns, having lighter skin and family history are all high-risk factors,

But, Sandy Johnson, RN, BSN, of Covenant Healthcare's cancer center says never assume fallin outside the high risk category means skin cancer can't happen to you, "Really, everyone is at risk for skin cancer. "

Not only should you visit your doctor for a thorough skin check every year, Johnson says you should also be screening yourself- and often, "Like breast cancer screening, I don't think a lot of patients are aware that you actually want to screen yourself for skin cancer- for abnormal legions and moles. And ideally that would be done every month."

The American Cancer Society has a few guidelines to help with self exams. you are looking for the ABCDE's

"A" is for asymmetry, Johnson explains, "So you are looking for two sides that would be different maybe in the legion or the mole. Does one side look different than the other?"

"B" is for borders. Look for irregular or odd shaped borders. c

"C" is for color. If a mole is changing color, getting darker, or multi-colored, it might need a look.

"D" dis for diamter. If a mole is changing size, especially if it is getting larger, have a doctor check it.

"E" is for evolution or a change in a mole or legion. This is important, because the only way you will notice a change is by watching.

"Getting in front of a mirror and looking at yourself, looking at your whole body, looking for unusual moles legions, using a mirror, maybe getting a friend to look at your back. So it's just constantly being aware of your own skin."

Skin cancer can be deadly. If it is caught early, the deadliest form of skin cancer, Melanoma, is even highly survivable.

Covenant Heatlhcare is holding a free skin cancer screening clinic next Thursday, May 4, 2017. It's their kick-off for Skin Cancer Awareness Month. The un and under insured are especially encouraged to attend. For information about that screening click here.

To see what a cancerous mole or legion might look like, or to learn more about skin cancer, visit the skin cancer section on The American Cancer Society's website.

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